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After reading all these seemingly disconnected tales of hush hush Terror, evidently some pattern arises This chain of stories is where I found the masterpiece existing at the very core of the novel Never before has subtlety been used so effectively In a masterpiece of the macabre , a few corpses, ghosts, demons should make cameos, surely Nah ah NOT true here.Shirley Jackson is also the author of The Haunting of Hill House, a haunted house tale that suggests rather than shows like all the good ole horror movies I don t quite know how to approach a review about something I fell head over heels with move over Barker and, therefore, S King The tiny details is what enthralls readers of Jackson all the moments of dread that announce themselves only when one s in that sort of type of gothic mood.I suppose the title, The Lottery is muchthan just the final story in this collection which is also the best known, most popular of the bunch It also implies that to all these people, though some threads unite them most protagonists are female, have slight to severe OCD, live in New York City or the country there are tales with children and mothers in them, with slight transference of evil between them people turning against each other in a lesser degree of violence than in the culminating climax of the title story, an almost poetic announcement of the apocalypse written in code , even though there are sure fire connections Mr Harris is the name of almost every single male character found scattered in the stories , what occurs to these people, tragedy or sudden revulsion or deep depression or severe psychosis, is almost as if by a mystical collective lottery, one everyone plays in because everyone is alive You play it because you live Fate chooses you If you get picked, then it s your turn to experience something that makes the skin crawl. Today, December 14, is Shirley Jackson s birthday, and ever since Shirley came into my life this year and KNOCKED ME OUT with her fiction, I have invented a little fantasy about what her average morning might have looked like, when she was alive It s a complete fiction, of course, but it always manages to cheer me up, every time I think of it or find myself disliking men, overly much So, it goes It s morning at the Jackson Hyman household, circa 195 , and Shirley Jackson s standing in her kitchen, tossing a dirty skillet into the sink with one hand, pulling up the back of her waistband with the other It s autumn and she has an old pink robe pulled loosely over her pajamas and a ratty pair of slippers on her feet A mess of curlers and bobby pins stick out like a bird s nest at the top of her head Shirley burps a little, gives her belly a scratch, then leans against the counter as she lights a cigarette, watching her four kids in the kitchen nook make a mess of their abandoned scrambled eggs Get on then, will ya she says firmly to her kids, causing a ruckus of pushed back chairs and dishes tossed into the sink and loud footfalls on the stairs She makes a satisfied grunt then hacks up a mess of her own and spits it loudly into the sink.She turns to the four peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that are awaiting her approval on the counter and squints through the smoke to inspect her handiwork She continues to pull on her cigarette, held by her right hand, while she does a clumsy job of enclosing each sandwich with wax paper with her left Some ash falls down onto one final slice of the bread, and Shirley leans over and blows it away before forming the last sloppy package.The kids run down the stairs now with a great commotion and fill the kitchen with chaos, grabbing their bagged lunches, stopping to receive a kiss on their heads from their mother, then makingnoise by the front door as they cover their bodies with jackets and boots Shirley shouts her goodbyes and they echo hers as they loudly push out the door, into the morning air.Silence follows the slammed door and only then does husband Stanley emerge from his bedroom, freshly shaven and dressed in a suit, ready to start his day He walks down the stairs, humming, and sails up to the disheveled Shirley, who has lit a new cigarette with the old one and is now staring out the window above the sink He walks up behind her, greeting her by placing one hand on her hip and reaching his other hand, playfully, up under her shirt, to paw at one of her breasts.He acts the vampire, taking small bites at his wife s neck, then puts his mouth to her ear to sing, Who s gonna make us all richer today, eh, Shirley Who s my golden girl He pinches her right nipple for effect and his wife, still staring out the window, rolls her eyes.In a voice almost as deep as a man s, Shirley growls, Aw, for fuck s sake, Stan Settle down Stan laughs loudly and gives a hard slap to Shirley s generous bottom as he shouts, Back to work, golden girl then grabs his briefcase and makes his own departure, humming as he walks out the door.Shirley, grunting, crushes her cigarette out in the sink, then shuffles slowly in her slippers to the front door She puts pressure on the stubborn door with one large hip then dramatically turns the lock and shuffles away.When she gets to the base of the stairs, she takes off one slipper, slowly, leaning on the wall as she lifts her leg to remove it She focuses on the door, then chucks the slipper, hard, at just the right spot She takes off the other slipper and does it again.Shirley climbs the steps, barefooted, up to her writing desk She s smiling Stacking the dishes in the kitchen, she thought, Maybe he means it, maybe he could kill himself first, maybe he really wasn t curious and even if he were he d drive himself into a hysterical state trying to read through the envelope, locked in the bathroom Or maybe he just got it and said, Oh, from Jimmy, and threw it in his brief case and forgot it I ll murder him if he did, she thought I ll bury him in the cellar from Got a Letter from Jimmy The one thing that really stands out about this collection of Shirley Jackson stories is this the subtlety.It s not over the top horror in any shape or fashion Rather, it s regular folk doing regular things and as we peel back layers and layers to their surroundings or their individual psyches, everything twists subtly The normal quickly becomes a twilight zone nightmare even if it s only a tiny little thing that s changed.A dog caught killing chickens shiver My goodness, that one killed me Dead.Some, like the Witch, was totally awesome and people of my generation would have just found it great fun, but I can see why the mommy freaked the hell out Of course, the little kid was rocking hard to it and why wouldn t he I loved the Tooth It was damn surreal and I was thinking along the lines of all the similar kinds of tales and novels to come after it Body hopping tales, indeed Butthan that, I was really impressed and fascinated at the look into 40 s racism, subtle or not, how badly women were treated and how badly they treated each other, and the general miasma of inhumanity everywhere.Some tales were all about the unspoken silence that surrounded mental illness and the insane pressure to keep a lid on it and remain normal Things like this may not be completely horror as the genre but the tension was definitely all horror.Shirly Jackson s stories were absolutely macabre, quite brilliant, and completely understated It s all about looking through the darkened mirror, seeing our normal lives, living them, and then seeing just how horrible we really are Great stuff The Lottery is by far the best story in this collection, which made the process of reading all of the other stories a bit of a drag at times, but overall I enjoyed this A lot of Jackson s stories tackle big issues like racism and mental illness really effortlessly, and I loved that Plenty of them were also super dark and twisted but in Jackson s classic, understated and simple style, which made for a fun, creepy read at times I definitely prefer Shirley Jackson s novels, but this makes a great addition to my collection and I m glad I read it. My 1949 Avon paperback it originally sold for 35 cents seems to be pushing Shirley Jackson as H.P Lovecraft with ovaries The cover proclaims A study in nightmares by the most haunting writer of this generation It s even subtitled Adventures of the Demon Lover Anyone who s ever read that story knows the lover in that tale isscoundrel than demon Whatever it takes to sell books, I suppose.Jackson s characters dothan throw stones at one another Their cutting, thoughtless remarks have the power to wound and leave scars Cruelty runs rampant as women snub and snipe at other women, and men bury themselves in their newpapers.The author proves to be a keen observer of human nature, picking up on all the little details that bring her mini masterpieces to life.From The Villager She went into Whelan s and sat at the counter, putting her copy of the Villager down on the counter next to her pocketbook and The Charterhouse of Parma, which she had read enthusiastically up to page fifty and only carried now for effect Am I the only one who s done this Waving around a copy of a book that I was not particularly fond of but wanted to show off in public so as to appear to be an intellectual Surely, I can t be Shirley must have done it too.So, there you have it Horror stories No Wonderful stories about sad and lonely people who seldom get their heart s desires Oh, yes I am not persuaded any of these qualify as horror Good enough stories, readable, lukewarm writing, not muchBEWARE of SPOILERS AHEAD There s this story about some weird guy telling a young neurotical kid with an even younger sister gruesome tales about his own hypothetical sister The mother chases him away There s a story about a woman running around looking for her fiance and asking a bunch of random geezers about him It s painstakingly described how she s over 30 and how it s disadvantageing her to no end and how difficult it is to look presentable at this ripe old age eyeroll We get a view of her 2 pocketbooks dilemma, 2 dress dilemma, all kinds of dillemas of this kind We even get a view of her fantasy of how she would talk to the police, trying to explain to them that she has a right to a fiance because she s not just this shabby body face at her ripe old age of 30 eyeroll but that there s also something beneath the surface that makes her worthy of this great honour eyeroll There s another story about a dancer become secretary who tries to buy secondhand furniture and pretends for a bit she s the one selling it to another customer The Lottery, of course So, the winner gets stoned by their neighbours young kids included , once per year Another story is about a girl talking to a grownup about the approaching end of the world, the said grownup gets his panties in a twist about it Yet another story is about Laurie telling stories about Charlie I hope I m not mistaken about the names L goes to a kindergarten and comes home regaling everyone with stories about a wilder kid in there, C These stories become an institution with the family who start calling anything wild or unfortunate or nasty a Charlie Then, after ages, they learn that there s no Charlie and that it was likely maybe L doing all the acting up and then referring to himself in the 3d person and another name Taudry Maybe I liked this one for its weirdness but then again, it s not too unusual a situation And not a horror, definitely Kids and grownups have been known to do farhorrible stuff than misbehaving in a kindergarten and then trying to make up an alter ego.Another one is about marines and a whole flock of females of a family who think marines are dirty or deranged or are gonna jump them all on sight or something And yes, it s boring Another story is about an Afroamerican kid invited to dinner to a White family and the mother of the family being very obtuse about his life circumstances She s very determined to have her foot in her mouse for the duration of the story And she succeeds in that with flying colours Actually, all over there are lots of women portrayed in here who are shown how they are over 30 and how it s difficult to be over 30 compared to being over 20 All these women live either for men or for kids or for something just behind the horizon They don t do things just for themselves And it s all damn tiresome and it might have been a social horror or writing horror or bored out of my mind horror but not horror horror I hope the author was trying to achive some kind of social satire or irony and was illustrating all this shit for the purpose of showing the reader just how bothersome these attitudes can get Or else, these stories would be worthless altogether.And bothersome this whole stuff is Seriously, men, meeting such women, how did they not manage to run really fast away so as not to immediately become the center of someone else s universe Is it even pleasant for anyone when the people s worlds are so very much skewed I wouldn t want to be in any society where any social group is obliged to revolve around the interest of any other social group I think both would be incredibly boring Mind it, these stories might have been ground breaking in their time including the miracle of a woman, no, A WOMAN putting her pen to paper and getting some results recognisable as writing but at this time, today, these areof a jaw breaking from yawning kind Mildly interesting Only mildly. Very rarely does one find a short story collection where all stories are above average Kudos to Ms Jackson for producing a collection where all are excellent, and some really outstanding I wonder whether it is possible to fall in love with a lady who passed away when one was scarcely two years old If so, I m in love with Shirley.The title story needs no introduction in fact, this is the one which first led me to Shirley Jackson and The Haunting of Hill House, which so far I ve not been able to read It must be one of the most discussed stories in American literature You can find my review here.However, The Lottery is an exception in this collection none of the other stories are actual shockers, though the suggestion of violence in some of them is really disturbing In The Renegade, various methods to cure a dog of her chicken killing tendencies are discussed, some of them right out of a medieval torturer s manual In The Witch, a casual story told to a boy by a stranger takes an ugly turn Always, the humdrum suddenly metamorphoses into the bizarre never quite letting go of strong undercurrent of black humour.Shirley never lets us forget that behind the mask of civilisation, the caveman is still very much present even though the mask is removed fully only in The Lottery However, it leads to a permanent undercurrent of tension which would be unbearable had it also not been so humorous People are always at loggerheads, arms akimbo, ready to draw and shoot though they never actually do We can see this tension among social situations most palpably in Trial by Combat, Afternoon in Linen, Like Mother Used to Make, Men with Their Big Shoes and The Intoxicated, and also in stories where the antagonism is not so evident In some stories, this results in the total emotional domination of one human being by another, leading to virtual slavery Like Mother Used to Make, Men with Their Big Shoes Perhaps not surprisingly, children in Ms Jackson s fictional universe take it in their stride In Kerala, we have a movement called Pennezhuthu Woman writing It is coined by feminists to indicate the deconstructed language they use to subvert traditional masculine bias in literature I have never been able to understand what they mean by this, but it cannot be denied that talented women bring a certain individual touch to language, themes and narrative Shirley s female protagonists, lost in the labyrinthine city jungles, are a case in point.In Pillar of Salt, New York becomes a virtual trap for a country woman who is reduced to a wreck who cannot cross the street by the end of the tale In Flower Garden, the younger Mrs Winning of Vermont Manor House becomes a prisoner of her own snobbish values In Elizabeth, a lonely woman stuck in a stagnating business dreams of a demon lover in a sunlit garden and waits for him In the The Tooth, a woman in the grip of a bad tooth has a dreamlike bus trip with a mysterious stranger.But it is in The Daemon Lover that this mysterious male, a representation of the female animus perhaps, is taken to its logical extreme view spoiler A woman on the search for her lover who has stood her up on her wedding morning, runs him to earth in an apartment where he is apparently holed up However, all her efforts to smoke him out are vain.She knew there was someone inside the other apartment, because she was sure she could hear low voices and sometimes laughter She came back many times, every day for the first week She came on her way to work, in the mornings in the evenings, on her way to dinner alone, but no matter how often or how firmly she knocked, no one ever came to the door hide spoiler *READ KINDLE ✐ The Lottery and Other Stories ↭ The Lottery, One Of The Most Terrifying Stories Written In This Century, Created A Sensation When It Was First Published In The New Yorker Power And Haunting, And Nights Of Unrest Were Typical Reader Responses This Collection, The Only One To Appear During Shirley Jackson S Lifetime, Unites The Lottery With Twenty Four Equally Unusual Stories Together They Demonstrate Jackson S Remarkable Range From The Hilarious To The Truly Horrible And Power As A Storyteller Recently, I ve read a number of short stories with the intention of cutting down my huge reading pile and I ve been largely disappointed Particularly by common favourites like Edgar Allan Poe and his many famous horror tales I was surprised to find them rather lacking The Lottery, however, is one of the best short stories I ve read It s very rare that I would give five stars to a short story because I reserve the top rating for meaty, well rounded, often complex and or clever novels, so a four star rating means a lot in this case Jackson s tale is undeniably creepy and tells a story that, though seemingly unknown to us, draws parallels with our world and the ridiculous way people are prone to behave at times Her story is pure fiction, it is not about any world from the present or at any time in history but it s meaning is something that applies still today.It all comes down to one simple three syllable word tradition Oh, what silly nonsense has been committed in the name of tradition How often progress has been halted in favour of an outdated practice that remains simply because that s the way it s always been In Jackson s short story, every person in the town where this novel finds its setting is forced to draw a ticket in The Lottery In the end, only one person can be the winner , but this game has a sinister twist Will you see it coming As the story builds up to its climax, we see the town citizens discussing the tradition of The Lottery We are told that other towns nearby have started to ban the practice, that there has even been talk of banning it in this town But everyone brushes this off with distaste how can you ban something that has been going on for so long How will people cope without this routine that they ve come to rely on I found this story fascinating Both simple and clever and, ultimately, very effective.If you d like to read The Lottery for yourself you can find it here I The Intoxicated The Daemon Lover Like Mother Used To Make Trial By Combat The Villager My Life With R H MacyII The Witch The Renegade After You, My Dear Alphonse Charles Afternoon In Linen Flower Garden Dorothy And My Grandmother And The SailorsIII Colloquy Elizabeth A Fine Old Firm The Dummy Seven Types Of Ambiguity Come Dance With Me In IrelandIV Of Course Pillar Of Salt Men With Their Big Shoes The Tooth Got A Letter From Jimmy The LotteryV Epilogue